A Brief History of Chapel-en-le-Frith Ladies Choir
The Choir was founded in 1974. An article appeared in the Buxton Advertiser explaining that efforts were being made to form a women's choir in Chapel-en-le-Frith. A meeting was called in the Roebuck Inn on Monday 15th July and anyone insterested in joining the Choir was invited to attend. There was a great response to the article. The Choir started rehearsals first in the Memorial Club and then in the Town Hall, with Raymond Holden as Musical Director. Unfortunately Raymond died suddenly in June 1975. George Jacobs rook over as MD in September 1975 until 1977.
Then the choir was once again without an MD. Norma Clough, a trained singer, was approached by Kath Naden, the accompanist at the time. She agreed to become the new MD, and stayed for 26 years. During thet time, Norma, with Alison Wheeldon as accompanist, developed the Choir's skills and repertoire. They made links with a choir in Germany and also with choirs in the UK.
In 2004 Lucy Crew, a fine soloist and teacher, was chosen as MD and served until 2010. Jane Simmons became the Choir accompanist in 2004, and remains so until the present.
Alison Bletcher then stepped in as MD until March 2011, when Dorian Kelly took over the baton. Then in summer 2018, Dorian resigned and Sam Gilliatt took over as MD.
Since March 2020, Sam has guided us through the unknown waters of lockdown in the Covid-19 pandemic, when all concerts were cancelled and rehearsals were all on zoom. In July 2021, we tentativley had our first rehearsal back in the Town Hall, just before the summer break. All being well, the 2021/2022 season rehearsals will be held in the Town Hall, as before the pandemic.
The Choir was supported for many years by Councillor Ann Young who became Choir President in 1999 until 2011. In 2012 Councillor Hilary Batterbee was welcomed as the new president.
The Choir celebrated its Ruby Anniversary in 2014, with many special events. These included a 40th Anniversary Concert at Chapel-en-le-Frith Methodist Church. Previous MD’s and accompanist came to participate, making it a very special occasion.
Chapel-en-le-Frith Ladies Choir is registered with the Charity Commission, number 1037443, and is funded by a combination of subscriptions from members; Friends; donations; grants and the proceeds of concerts.
If you would like to find out about becoming a Friend of the Choir, please go to the Support us page.